There was no questioning their effort or compete level this time out.
But unfortunately for the Langley Thunder, it still wasn’t enough.
During their last home game the previous week, Langley’s offence went stagnant, scoring zero goals over the final period as they watched a 7-6 lead transform into a 10-7 defeat, leaving head coach Rod Jensen searching for answers.
On Wednesday night, the team was back on their home floor at Langley Events Centre, taking on the Nanaimo Timbermen in Senior A Western Lacrosse Association action.
“I thought we battled hard for three periods and our execution was good,” Jensen said, following his team’s 12-11 overtime loss which dropped their record to 2-8 on the season.
“I am not walking home upset, I thought we played a good game. The guys should hold their heads up even though it is frustrating to lose.”
Langley trailed for just 6:22 the entire game, and never by more than one goal.
But the Timbermen forced overtime on Tyson Roe’s goal with less than four minutes to play and then won it when Jon Phillips whipped home the winner during three-on-three sudden-death overtime at the 1:21 mark.
Nanaimo won the opening face-off in overtime and after calling timeout to diagram their play were unable to score. But neither was Langley on their opportunity and given a second chance, the T-Men made no mistake with Phillips potting his third goal of the night as the visitors improved to 5-2.
This was the first time Langley played in the new overtime format, which the league adopted this off-season.
And Jensen admitted his instinct was to have pulled the goaltender for an extra attacker when they gained possession, something he may do moving forward.
But for now, despite a much better effort, it goes down as another loss in a frustrating season for the team as they can’t seem to get that lucky break or bounce when they desperately need it.
Regardless of the outcome, it should be considered a step in the right direction against a solid Timbermen squad, which is in the thick of the playoff race.
In previous games, Langley was prone to surrendering lengthy scoring runs by the opposition, unable to come up with an answer as their opponent rattled off multi-goal runs. But the Thunder seemed to have remedied that problem for much of Wednesday’s contest, quickly answering back every time Nanaimo scored.
Three times in the opening frame, Nanaimo would score but each time, the Thunder had an answer, responding 51 seconds after the first goal, 40 seconds after the second and then 4:49 after the third.
Aidan Milburn would notch a pair to close the first and Langley had a 5-3 through 20 minutes. The middle stanza saw each team score four times, but neither was able to string two goals together.
After Milburn opened the scoring in the third, Nanaimo was able to finally to put together a run in the third, scoring three straight to tie the score at 10 before Dylan Kinnear and Roe traded goals once more setting the stage for Langley’s first game in the new overtime format.
Dane Dobbie led the way offensively for Langley with three goals and seven points while Connor Robinson had a goal and five helpers and Milburn had an assist to go along with his hat trick for the four-point game. Garrett Billings also returned to the line-up with a goal and two helpers while Kinnear scored twice and Reece Callies added a goal and an assist.
Steve Fryer made 51 saves as the Thunder were outshot 63-43.
Phillips (three goals, three assists) and Sean Tyrell (three goals, one assist) both finished with hat tricks for the Timbermen while Brody Eastwood had a goal and three helpers and Nick Finlay scored a pair and added one assist.
The Thunder, who are 2-2 on the road, travel to Victoria on Friday (June 28) to face the Shamrocks in their next game.